Monday Reads: A Neoconfederacy of DuncesPosted: July 10, 2017 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Collusion with Russians, Donald Trump Jr, TREASON 25 Comments
The more we find out about the Trump Family Crime syndicate, the more we understand their distinct lack of brains. They don’t, however, lack chutzpah. If they’ve got one foot in the grave, they’ll dig deeper with inane tweets. The little nuts do not fall far from the big ol’ nut tree.
Dumbo Jr. has basically confessed to collusion with the Russians.
Donald Trump Jr. acknowledged Sunday that he met with a Russian lawyer who had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton in June 2016.
The news, which was first reported by the New York Times, represents the most direct suggestion to date of possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, and it is the first indication that someone from President Trump’s inner circle met with Russians during the campaign. Trump Jr. also brought then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump’s son-in-law and now-top White House adviser Jared Kushner to the meeting.
But the information isn’t just troubling because it suggests the Trump campaign sought out the help of Russians to win the presidency. It also contradicts a number of claims made by the White House, the campaign and Trump Jr. himself — claims made as recently as this weekend. For an administration and campaign that have repeatedly denied contact with Russians and had their denials blow up in their faces, it’s yet another dubious chapter.
Read the rest of the article for what we’ve learned so far. Then, think on this bit from The New Yorker.
So, unless we are grading on a curve that even the most forgiving god would discount, innocence in the matter of collusion does not bring the Trump Administration nearer to the gates of heaven. But the issue is hardly the closed matter that Trump would propose it to be. Thanks to new reporting from theTimes, we are starting to see evidence that fits the theory. Within two days of the President’s dispiritingly weak and erratic performance in Hamburg––his winsome meeting with Vladimir Putin, the disheartening spectacle of the Europeans treating the United States with suspicion on issues ranging from global security to the fate of the global environment––we learn that Trump associates, including the President’s son, met during the 2016 campaign with one Natalia Veselnitskaya, a Kremlin-connected lawyer, on the promise that she could provide them information damaging to Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
The meeting took place on June 9, 2016, at Trump Tower. Trump’s emissaries included Donald Trump, Jr., who now helps to run the family businesses; Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who now helps to run the country; and his then campaign manager, Paul Manafort, who has a long history of business ties to Russia and pro-Russia Ukrainians, as well as a variety of political kleptocrats including Jonas Savimbi, Mobuto Sese Seko, and Ferdinand Marcos. The Trump team said there was nothing untoward about the meeting.
“After pleasantries were exchanged,” Trump, Jr., told the Times, “the woman stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” Trump, Jr., went on to claim that the discussion was largely about the Russian ban on foreign adoptions. Reince Priebus, the President’s chief of staff, described the meeting on “Fox News Sunday” as a “big nothing burger.” For her part, Veselnitskaya said that the meeting did not concern the campaign at all and that Manafort and Kushner left the room after ten minutes.
This follows the Wall Street Journal’s story last week that investigators have reviewed reports from intelligence agencies on Russian hackers discussing how to hack Clinton’s e-mails and get the material to Michael Flynn, the former national-security adviser, via an intermediary, and that Peter Smith, a longtime Republican operative, had undertaken an effort to obtain the Clinton e-mails and suggested to those around him that he was working with Flynn. The excuse the Trump Administration had for that one was that Smith “didn’t work for the campaign” and that if Flynn was working with him “in any way, it would have been in his capacity as a private individual.”
There has also been a great deal of solid journalism committed by Adam Davidson, of The New Yorker, Timothy O’Brien, of Bloomberg, and others on Trump’s business history and his links to disreputables in Russia and the former Soviet Union. All this begins to add up to an unlovely portrait of the President and his associates. In addition, the F.B.I. and congressional investigators are sorting through what, if any, relationship there might have been between the hundreds of Internet trolls who pumped out false, undermining stories about Clinton, Russian sponsors, and the Trump campaign. It is unlikely that the full story of the role of WikiLeaks in this saga has been told yet, either.
Representative Adam Schiff who is the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee announced his desire to question Donald Trump Jr.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) said on CNN on Sunday that the meeting raises “a variety of questions” because Trump has denied having any kind of meetings like this.
“They claimed this meeting had nothing to do with the campaign, and yet the Trump campaign manager is invited to come to the meeting and there’s no reason for this Russian government advocate to be meeting with Paul Manafort or Mr. Kushner or the President’s son if it wasn’t about the campaign and Russia policy,” he said.
He said the meeting is indicative of the fact that Russia was “obviously” trying to “influence one of the candidates” and that the explanations given from the administration so far don’t “make sense.” He said his committee would like to “get to the bottom” of what happened at the meeting and he plans to question everyone who was at the meeting.
“By trying to frame this about adoptions ignores what it sounds like the meeting might have been about and that was the Magnitsky Act, which is legislation, very powerful sanctions legislation, that goes against Russian human rights abusers,” he said.
“So if this was an effort to do away with that sanctions policy, that is obviously very significant that the President’s team, then-candidate Trump’s team, that contradicts of course what the President and his people have said about whether they’ve been meeting with any members of the Russian government,” he said.
Former Ethics lawyer for the Bush Administration Richard Painter believes the news on Don Con Jr. “borders on treason”.
An ethics lawyer under former President George W. Bush blasted Donald Trump Jr. for meeting with a Russian lawyer who claimed to have compromising information on then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton during the campaign, saying it “borders on treason.”
“This was an effort to get opposition research on an opponent in an American political campaign from the Russians, who were known to be engaged in spying inside the United States,” Richard Painter said Sunday on MSNBC.
“We do not get our opposition research from spies, we do not collaborate with Russian spies, unless we want to be accused of treason.”
Painter said the Bush administration would not have allowed the meeting, which was attended by Trump Jr., then-Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort and President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, now a White House senior adviser, to happen.
“If this story is true, we’d have one of them if not both of them in custody by now, and we’d be asking them a lot of questions,” he said. “This is unacceptable. This borders on treason, if it is not itself treason.”
Painter’s comments follow a Sunday report from The New York Times that Trump Jr.’s meeting with the Russian lawyer, who has ties to the Kremlin, came after the lawyer promised damaging information about Clinton.
He attended the meeting with the expectation that he would receive compromising information about Clinton, three advisers to the White House briefed on the meeting and two other sources with knowledge of the matter told the Times.
Meanwhile, we learn exactly why Republicans are such idiots. They’ve decided that colleges have a negative impact on the country. Can there be anything more pathetic than hating education because the facts continually prove you wrong? I’d like to add that I think it’s the Churches attended by Republicans that have the worst impact on the country. Along with Fox News, they hash out more crap than pig eating prunes.
Republicans and Democrats offer starkly different assessments of the impact of several of the nation’s leading institutions – including the news media, colleges and universities and churches and religious organizations – and in some cases, the gap in these views is significantly wider today than it was just a year ago.
While a majority of the public (55%) continues to say that colleges and universities have a positive effect on the way things are going in the country these days, Republicans express increasingly negative views.
A majority of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (58%) now say that colleges and universities have a negative effect on the country, up from 45% last year. By contrast, most Democrats and Democratic leaners (72%) say colleges and universities have a positive effect, which is little changed from recent years.
The national survey by Pew Research Center, conducted June 8-18 among 2,504 adults, finds that partisan differences in views of the national news media, already wide, have grown even wider. Democrats’ views of the effect of the national news media have grown more positive over the past year, while Republicans remain overwhelmingly negative.
About as many Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents think the news media has a positive (44%) as negative (46%) impact on the way things are going in the country. The share of Democrats holding a positive view of the news media’s impact has increased 11 percentage points since last August (33%).
Republicans, by about eight-to-one (85% to 10%), say the news media has a negative effect. These views have changed little in the past few years.
Let’s hope our media gets and stays ‘woke’.
There’s more than Watergate that makes Kremlin Caligula Nixonion. There’s his enemies list.
Donald Trump is less than six months into his presidency, yet one of the organizing principles of his political operation is already becoming clear: payback.
In private, Trump has spoken of spending $10 million out of his own pocket to defeat an incumbent senator of his own party, Jeff Flake of Arizona, according to two sources familiar with the conversation last fall. More recently, the president celebrated the attacks orchestrated by a White House-sanctioned outside group against another Republican senator, Dean Heller of Nevada, who has also been openly critical of him.
Fear of Trump reprisals has led one Republican congresswoman, Martha Roby of Alabama, to launch an intense campaign to win over a president who remembers every political slight — and especially those who abandoned him following the October release of the 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape in which he bragged about sexually assaulting women.
At the time, Roby called Trump “unacceptable” and said she wouldn’t vote for him. But the president, who is popular in Alabama, ended up carrying her district by a wide margin. And since the inauguration, she has gone to the White House four times to attend Trump-hosted events and on two other occasions to meet with his daughter Ivanka. During the Rose Garden celebration following the House’s passage of the health care bill, the four-term congresswoman offered the president a personal compliment while shaking his hand: “Good job,” she told him, according to a source close to Roby who was briefed on the exchange.
White House officials have taken notice of Roby’s efforts to make amends and view her efforts with some skepticism. While in the Oval Office for a NASA bill signing in March, Roby sidled up next to Trump — putting her front-and-center for the photo-op. Behind her push for the president’s approval is a stark political reality: She is facing a fierce primary challenge from a Trump stalwart who has turned her past opposition to the president into the focal point of his campaign.
And now I need a shower … but, I will leave you with a question from the brilliant Joy Reid.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Lazy Saturday Reads: A Spy Ring in the White House?Posted: May 27, 2017 Filed under: Foreign Affairs, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: Donald Trump, espionage, Jared Kushner, Russia investigation, TREASON 31 Comments
I’m illustrating this post with paintings of women and cats–not relevant, but perhaps more soothing than the news.
It’s beginning to look like we have an actual spy ring in the White House. Here are the late-breaking stories from last night. I’m assuming everyone has read or heard about them.
The Washington Post: Russian ambassador told Moscow that Kushner wanted secret communications channel with Kremlin.
The New York Times: Kushner Is Said to Have Discussed a Secret Channel to Talk to Russia.
Reuters: Exclusive: Trump son-in-law had undisclosed contacts with Russian envoy – sources.
The Washington Post: Senate Intelligence Committee requests Trump campaign documents.
The New York Times: Russian Once Tied to Trump Aide Seeks Immunity to Cooperate With Congress.
While all this news has been breaking, Trump has been in Europe undermining NATO and our country’s relationship with long-time allies. He has done everything Vladimir Putin could have wished for. Trump ignored his advisers and refused to reaffirm U.S. support for Article 5
Foreign Policy: Trump’s Article 5 Omission Was an Attack Against All of NATO.
When President Trump spoke to NATO members for the first time on Thursday he failed to say the one thing Europeans were waiting to hear. He never mentioned America’s unwavering commitment to Article 5 of the NATO Treaty, which states that an attack on one is an attack on all. Twitter erupted in a storm of outrage and, for at least a few hours, #NATO was trending. Sean Spicer, responding to the criticism, stressed that even though the president didn’t say it outright, he is “fully committed” to NATO and Article 5.
Spicer’s logic? Trump’s mere presence at the dedication ceremony at the new NATO HQ was evidence enough. For folks that don’t track NATO issues on a day-to-day basis (and that’s most people), the president’s omission may not seem like a big deal. But Trump’s refusal to repeat what so many members of his own Cabinet have already stated — including his vice president — was a significant blow to the transatlantic relationship and could have lasting consequences.
Why were Europeans so eager to hear Trump utter the words “Article 5”? It was just last summer when Trump, in an interview with the New York Times, alluded to the fact that the United States could make its commitment to Article 5 conditional on whether the country in question was spending enough on defense. That sent a shiver down the spines of many NATO allies as they imagined calling Washington in a crisis — only to be asked first asked whether they had met the 2 percent target. (For many, the answer would be no.) Throughout the campaign, Trump also called the alliance “obsolete” (before he said it was “no longer” obsolete) and has repeatedly claimed — falsely — that NATO allies owe the United States vast sums of money.
Read the rest at the link. Foreign Policy is providing free access to their articles this weekend.
NBC News: Trump Declines Endorsing Paris Climate Change Deal at G7 Summit, Will Make Decision Next Week.
TAORMINA, Italy — Under pressure from allies, President Donald Trump backed a pledge to fight protectionism on Saturday, but refused to endorse a global climate change accord, saying he needed more time to decide.
The summit of Group of Seven wealthy nations pitted Trump against the leaders of Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan on several issues, with European diplomats frustrated at having to revisit questions they hoped were long settled.
Trump, who has previously called global warming a hoax, tweeted that he would make a decision next week on whether to back the 2015 Paris Agreement on curbing carbon emissions following lengthy discussions with G7 partners.
He probably needs to check with Putin first.
“The entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters. “There are no indications whether the United States will stay in the Paris Agreement or not.”
However, there was relief that Trump agreed to language in the final G7 communique that pledged to fight protectionism and commits to a rules-based international trade system.
Read more at the link.
NBC News is reporting this morning that Trump and his entourage are refusing to give on-camera briefings to the press or answer questions about Kushner. All other NATO countries are holding public press conferences at the closing of the summit. They did send out designated patsy H.R. McMaster to answer some questions.
Philip Rucker at The Washington Post: Trump adviser: ‘I would not be concerned’ about a Russia back-channel, irrespective of Kushner.
TAORMINA, Italy — President Trump’s National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster said Saturday he “would not be concerned” about having a back-channel communications system with Russia, though he and other top White House officials refused to comment specifically on the growing controversy surrounding Jared Kushner.
A news conference here at the conclusion of Trump’s maiden foreign trip was overtaken at times by questions about Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser, and Friday’s Washington Post report that Kushner had discussed the possibility of setting up a secret and secure communications channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin.
The Post reported earlier in the week that Kushner — who helped plan the Middle East portion of Trump’s trip and traveled with the president to Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican — is now a focus of the FBI investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
McMaster sand National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, who together briefed reporters Saturday, were unwilling to discuss the Kushner matter, as was White House press secretary Sean Spicer. White House officials insisted the briefing be conducted off-camera, preventing photographers or television cameras from documenting it.
“We’re not going to comment on Jared,” Cohn said. “We’re just not going to comment.”
McMaster either misunderstood what Kushner was trying to do or is simply trying to obfuscate and sow confusion about what happened with her holographic nails. Kushner wasn’t just seeking a secure channel to communicate with the Kremlin. He wanted to use the Russian embassy and Russian security channels for communications that would be hidden from the U.S. government and the American people. How can that not be treason?
Some reactions to the Kushner revelations
Business Insider interviewed Bob Dietz, who formerly worked for NSA and the CIA:
“GOOD GRIEF. This is serious,” said Bob Deitz, a veteran of the NSA and the CIA who worked under the Clinton and Bush administrations.
“This raises a bunch of problematic issues. First, of course, is the Logan Act, which prohibits private individuals conducting negotiations on behalf of the US government with foreign governments,” Deitz said. “Second, it tends to reinforce the notion that Trump’s various actions about [fired FBI Director James] Comey do constitute obstruction.”
“In other words, there is now motive added to conduct,” Deitz noted. “This is a big problem for the President.”
They also talked to Glen Carle, formerly of the CIA.
“If you are in a position of public trust, and you talk to, meet, or collude with a foreign power” while trying to subvert normal state channels, “you are, in the eyes of the FBI and CIA, a traitor,” said Glenn Carle, a former top counterterrorism official at the CIA. “That is what I spent my life getting foreigners to do with me, for the US government.”
Carle noted that, if the Kushner-Kislyak meeting and reported discussion were an isolated incident, then it could be spun as “normal back-channel communication arrangements among states.” ….
“We know about the multiple meetings of Trump entourage members with Russian intel-related individuals,” Carle said. “There will be many others that we do not know about.” He noted that while this reported back channel is “explosive,” it is worth questioning who planted the story — The Post reportedly received an anonymous letter in December tipping them off to the Kushner-Kislyak meeting.
Additionally, as a longtime diplomat, Kislyak would have known that his communications were being monitored. So the possibility remains, Carle said, that the Russians used the meeting with Kushner to distract the intelligence community and the public from potentially more incriminating relationships between the campaign and Moscow.
Read much more at the Business Insider link.
I have to agree with Joseph Cannon on this: Lock him up? No. SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY!
I confess that this post’s title is a provocation, though it expresses my sincere belief. If this Reuters report and this WP report are true — and as of this writing, they have not been denied — Jared Kushner is a traitor. He should not simply lose his job; he must be tried. Tried for treason.
Kushner lied on his security clearance forms — forms which clearly state that a deliberate falsification will result in jail. Any “Oops! Forgot!” claim is a bad joke. Jared Kushner cannot possibly have forgotten a meeting with the Russian ambassador in Trump Tower. No-one can forget an attempt to set up a back channel communication system using Russian facilities….
You wanna know who really is without sin in all this? Hillary Clinton.
Yet the Republicans chanted “Lock her up!” because Hillary set up a private email server. Contrary to the incessant lies emitted by right-wing propagandists, that server handled NON-classified communications, with a couple of accidental exceptions (which Hillary did not send). The most often-cited of these exceptions was a piece of piffle about Malawi which never should have received a classification stamp.
That’s why the Republican establishment demanded that Hillary Clinton lose her security clearance: Freakin’ Malawi. The same establishment is now trying to come up with a way to save Kushner’s ass.
The hypocrisy on display here is beyond flabbergasting, beyond infuriating. I cannot think of a parallel in the entire history of partisan double standards. Anyone who can damn Hillary while excusing Kushner and Trump must be mentally sick.
At this time (last December), Trump and his team were bad-mouthing the U.S. intelligence community. Kushner’s back-channel was designed to keep Trump’s communications with Putin hidden from our people, not from the FSB.
Please go read the rest at Cannonfire.
More links to check out
The New Yorker: Jared Kushner’s Russia Problems.
The New Yorker: How Worried Should Jared Kushner Be?
Politico: Meet the Real Jared Kushner.
Vox: The dueling scoops about Jared Kushner’s plan for secret communications with Russia, explained.
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I couldn’t sleep last night after reading these articles and watching MSNBC’s reports. I’m probably going to have to take a nap soon, but I’ll be checking in to see your reactions and click on your links. Take care everyone. This is really really scary.
Monday Reads: From Russia with ThugsPosted: March 27, 2017 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: Foreign Agents, Kushner, Nunes, putin, Russia, T-Russia, TREASON 36 Comments
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
It would be nice to focus on something other than T-Russia for awhile but this probably is the story of the century and it’s unfolding at a breakneck speed. Hannah Levintova at MoJo has written a great tick tock for any one having trouble keeping up with all the events to date. You may want to bookmark it since they will be updating and editing it. It spans 30 years of T-Russia history.
The Trump-Russia scandal—with all its bizarre and troubling twists and turns—has become a controversy that is defining the Trump presidency. The FBI recently disclosed that since July it has been conducting a counterintelligence investigation into possible coordination between Trump associates and Russia, as part of its probe of Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election. Citing “US officials,” CNN reported that the bureau has gathered information suggesting coordination between Trump campaign officials and suspected Russian operatives. Each day seems to bring a new revelation—and a new Trump administration denial or deflection. It’s tough to keep track of all the relevant events, pertinent ties, key statements, and unraveling claims. So we’ve compiled what we know so far into the timeline below, which covers Trump’s 30-year history with Russia. We will continue to update the timeline regularly as events unfold.
So, here are some interesting reads on the most recent developments which include a Senate Committee questioning Jared Kushner. NW Luna posted this which is the list of what’s happened this week alone. It’s written by Yonatan Zunger via Medium.
In the past week, there have been several startling revelations about the investigations into Donald Trump, his closest allies, and their ties to Russia. Not only has the existence of two investigations, one by the FBI and one by the House Intelligence Committee, been confirmed, but there is increasing information as to just what is being investigated: an alleged deal for Trump to advance Russian interests as President in exchange for a share of the Russian state oil company Rosneft and Russian intelligence assistance in winning the election.
This news has been spread over a tremendous number of articles and even Twitter threads, rather than in a single big headline. So today I would like to pull together all of these reports, and make it clear what things are known for certain, what things have been reported and sourced but not confirmed, and what things are still speculation.
Information from Nunes continues to shock.
He continues to try to explain his White House visit and conversation with Paul Ryan as calls mount for his resignation.
According to a Daily Beast report later over the weekend, Nunes went off the grid that night to meet a source and view dozens of intelligence reports, including accounts of meetings involving President Donald Trump’s advisers.
Then it gets weirder. CNN is now reporting that Nunes had in fact slipped off to the White House grounds last Tuesday to view the documents. And then on Wednesday, after briefing reporters on what he had found in those intelligence reports, he went back to the White House to inform the president.
On the surface, none of this looks good for Nunes, who is in charge of his committee’s bipartisan investigation into all things Trump and Russia. Why would Nunes need to brief the president on documents he viewed at a facility on White House grounds?
In an interview Monday, Nunes told me that he ended up meeting his source on the White House grounds because it was the most convenient secure location with a computer connected to the system that included the reports, which are only distributed within the executive branch. “We don’t have networked access to these kinds of reports in Congress,” Nunes said. He added that his source was not a White House staffer and was an intelligence official.
Nunes, it should be said, has a history of cultivating independent sources inside the intelligence community. He made contact, for example, with the U.S. intelligence contractors who ended up saving most of the Americans stuck in the Benghazi outpost when it was attacked on Sept. 11, 2012. More recently, Nunes has reached out to his network of whistleblowers to learn about pressure inside the military’s Central Command on analysts to write positive reports on the U.S. campaign against the Islamic State.
In this case, Nunes had been hearing for more than a month about intelligence reports that included details on the Trump transition team, and had been trying to view them himself. He told me that when he finally saw the documents last Tuesday evening, he made sure to copy down their identifying numbers so he could request access to them formally for the rest of the committee.
So, what the heck is going on with Jared Kushner and why hasn’t some one told him to shove off? It appears T-Russia was in full swing prior to and after the election including stealth visits by the Russian ambassador facilitated by Kushner who secreted him into Mount Doom last fall. Inquiring senators want to know wtf were they all thinking?
The Senate Intelligence Committee will reportedly question White House adviser Jared Kushner as part of its probe into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.
The committee wants to question Kushner, who is also President Trump’s son-in-law, about meetings he arranged with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, The New York Times reported.
According to the Times, the White House counsel’s office was told this month about the panel’s request.
A White House official and a spokesman for Intelligence Committee chair Richard Burr (R-N.C.) confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that Kushner had agreed to meet.
“Throughout the campaign and transition, Jared Kushner served as the official primary point of contact with foreign governments and officials. Given this role, he has volunteered to speak with Chairman Burr’s Committee,” a White House official told the Journal.
The White House has previously acknowledged a December meeting at Trump Tower between Kushner, Kislyak and former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Discussions at that meeting reportedly focused on the potential of better relations between the U.S. and Russia.
Meanwhile, Putin is brutally suppressing a nascent Russian Protest that broke out around the country on Sunday.
This is from the Ioffe article at The Atlantic mentioned in the Goldberg tweet above.
But Sunday’s protest was different. Unlike the rallies in Nemtsov’s memory or even the 2011-2012 protests, this one did not have a permit from the Moscow city authorities. Over the weekend, the mayor’s office warned people that protestors alone would bear the responsibility for any consequences of attending what they deemed an illegal demonstration. But despite those warnings and despite the fresh memory of some three dozen people being charged—many of whom did prison time—for a protest in May 2012 that turned violent, thousands came out in Moscow. The police estimated attendance at 8,000, but given officials’ predilection for artificially deflating the numbers of those gathered at such events to make them seem less of a threat, the number could easily have been double that. People clogged the length of Tverskaya Street, one of the city’s main drags. The iconic Pushkin Square was packed, and people clung to the lampposts, chanting “Russia will be free!”
Three weeks ago, Navalny, who became famous as an anti-corruption blogger, posted an hour-long video exposé (with English subtitles) on his blog and YouTube channel. It showed, in great detail and using drone footage, what he said were the vast real-estate holdings of prime minister and former president Dmitry Medvedev, a man who talked of fighting corruption during his presidency and who in May told the residents of recently annexed Crimea, who are suffering from electricity and fuel shortages, “We don’t have the money now. … But you hang in there!” The money, Navalny alleged, was all bundled up in palaces, some costing hundreds of millions of dollars, all over the country. It was strange to attack Medvedev, now a widely ridiculed has-been in Russian politics, and many doubted that Navalny telling people to go out and protest Medvedev would have any resonance. And yet, when he named the day—March 26—people across 11 time zones answered his call and came out.
The Russian opposition leader–Navalny–has been jailed for at least 15 days. More disturbing was the arrest of many foreign journalists.
Thousands of people rallied in dozens of cities across Russia on Sunday following a call by Navalny to protest over an investigation into Medvedev’s alleged corruption. Navalny’s team released a video alleging Medvedev had amassed a collection of palaces, yachts and vineyards during his time in office.
Authorities in most cities – from Chita in Siberia to Makhachkala in Dagestan – denied permission for the rallies. Police arrested those who were holding posters or chanting, and also on occasion simply swept random people off the street.
Guardian correspondent Alec Luhn was among those arrested, despite having Russian journalistic accreditation. He was held for hours and charged with participating in an unsanctioned demonstration before being released after the foreign ministry intervened.
A rights group monitoring the arrests said on Monday morning that 1,030 people had been detained in Moscow alone. About 120 remained in custody on Monday morning. The majority of those released were charged with the minor offence of taking part in an unsanctioned demonstration and are likely to be fined.
In Nizhny Novgorod, parents of five children who took part in the protests were charged with “improper parenting”, according to Interfax news agency.
It took the US State Department 12 hours to respond to arrests of protesters and journalists.
On Sunday night, roughly 12 hours after images and reports of the crackdown began emerging from Moscow, the top State Department spokesman issued a statement strongly condemning the detention of hundreds and calling for the immediate release of all peaceful protesters.
And we thought the Cold War was pretty much over. Sheesh!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?